2nd edition of Ilmkubator-Class: In nine months to your own start-up

The "Ilmenau Ideas Incubator" (short: Ilmkubator) has started the 2nd year of the coaching program for potential founders, the "Ilmkubator Class". The Ilmkubator is the start-up service of the TU Ilmenau and is funded in the line EXIST-Potentials by the Federal Ministry of Economics. As part of the Ilmkubator Class, up to six teams and individual founders have the opportunity to further develop their start-up idea in six modules and with the support of Ilmkubator coaches, mentors from the business world and experts.

After the first cohort was successfully completed in 2020, the 2nd edition of the program started in April 2021. The interest of students and employees was once again great, as Ilmkubator spokesperson Laura Martin confirms: "We received almost 20 applications, from which the jury selected the participants. Because so many ideas convinced us, even more teams were selected this year than originally planned, with seven start-up projects." The ideas range from digital services to technological aids in the rescue and security sector to high-tech products in the food sector. Many of the ideas are also characterized by a focus on sustainability and social responsibility. The lively interest shows that the Ilmkubators address the needs of many students and scientists and are an important offer of TU Ilmenau.

Comprehensive coaching program

During the 9-month program, the participants of the Ilmkubator Class analyze the market for their start-up idea and develop strategies for entering the market and addressing the target group. Legal and financial framework conditions are also considered in the Ilmkubator Class in order to pave the way for the start-up idea. Regular coaching sessions help participants to focus on their own goals, such as prototype construction or the first business plan. In addition, all participants receive their own office space in the Ilmkubator and have the option of a non-cash budget of up to 300 euros, which can be used for prototype development, for example. Furthermore, the Class teams can participate in networking events and make their first important contacts in the region. One participant:

"I am very happy that we got a place in the Class and can now work on our idea with professional support. In addition to the coaching sessions, we're already looking forward to mentors from the business world and our own office."

On the way to self-employment

As a follow-up to the 1st Ilmkubator Class, two teams are on their way to self-employment; one has already founded the company pawaho UG last year and moved into the pop-up store in Erfurt in May. Start-up consultant and Ilmkubator initiator Jan Radicke draws a positive balance:

The Ilmkubator Class of the first round is a very good example of how addressing both student start-up enthusiasts and scientists can succeed. The five teams with their different topics have made great progress and we are excited about the further path of the teams.

The Executive Board of TU Ilmenau is also pleased with the success of the first Ilmkubator Class and the continuation of the program in 2021. Thus, President Prof. Kai-Uwe Sattler praised the commitment of the founding teams in the closing event and reviewed the progress in the final presentations. Prof. Jens Müller, Vice President for International Affairs and Transfer, was a guest at the kickoff of the Class 2021 and was pleased about the international and interdisciplinary participants: "Networking is very important, even in the early stages of founding and brainstorming. Take advantage of the great opportunity offered by the Ilmkubator Class, be brave and talk to others about your idea", he told the new teams on their way to the first workshop.

The Ilmkubator Class

The Ilmkubator Class programme is aimed at students and employees of the TU Ilmenau and is free of charge for them. Teams and individuals who are interested in the topics of founding and entrepreneurship can apply to participate in the coaching program for business start-ups. Whether thereby already a concrete establishment project is present or so far only an idea exists, is not decisive for the selection to the participation. What is important is the individual motivation of the applicants, the potential of the project and the possibility of support from the Ilmkubator. Interested parties can apply in spring 2022 with a short profile of their idea.

Students, scientists and academics can also contact the Ilmkubator's start-up coaches at any time at and arrange consultation appointments or participate in Ilmkubator events. In addition, monthly online consultations and transfer checks will be offered starting in June, which can be attended without registration. All information about the Ilmkubator's program and the application procedures for the class can be found at or on social media on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.


Laura Martin

Ilmkubator | Public Relations